These Feminist Organizations and Leaders are Building Better Nuclear Policy—by Inviting Women to the Table

It’s long past time for more diverse voices in the field of national security and nuclear policy—and that’s exactly why the Ploughshare Fund, a global security grant-making foundation that supports initiatives seeking to eliminate nuclear weapons and the threats they pose, has awarded $50,000 to groups and individuals working to diversify the field.

( Ploughshare )

The Fund allotted $10,000 to Beyond the Bomb to fund their BombSquad Fellowships, in which students learn organizing and activism, and to advance their advocacy for a no-first-use policy in the U.S; the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, in order to help the organization produce a report highlighting feminist approaches and analyses of nuclear policy in P5 states; and the Peace Action Fund of New York State, which will use the funding to bring 20 student leaders together for their Campus Incubator Project.

In addition, the Federation of American Scientists was awarded $6,500 in support of the Foreign Policy Generation, a working group of young professionals developing a foreign policy platform; Lilly Adams was awarded $7,000 for her work to build relationships with and develop a directory of activists, local leaders and experts from communities impacted by nuclear testing; and Women’s Action for New Directions was granted $8,000 to educate women legislators on nuclear policy issues in West Virginia.

“A big part of the work we have to do is create an environment for marginalized voices where they feel comfortable working in and staying in the field,” Ploughshares Fund Senior Program Officer Cara Wagner explained to Ms. “Considering that the next generation of leaders in the field, Millennials and Gen Z, are the most diverse and inclusive generations, they will take these issues seriously. Diversity is valuable to who will be the next leaders in our field and bringing in lens of inclusivity is a way to engage that diverse next generation.”

Giving a platform to marginalized voices can especially help move away from a solely “masculine” approach to national security, which relies on the use of nuclear weapons and the existence uneven global hierarchy established by hegemonic masculinity. There is an increasing amount of literature calling for a feminist analysis and approach to international relations as a means to challenge these power relations and instead create a more humanitarian and equitable landscape for national security, foreign affairs and conflict policy and practice around the world.

That’s why the Fund’s latest round of awards matters. “It ultimately will create a better policy,” Wagner told Ms. “You are able to understand the foundation of the field by bringing in the people that will expand the field. More diversity creates stronger decisions and better policies and leads us down the road to more justice.”


Greta Baxter is currently working as a summer editorial intern at Ms. Magazine. While majoring in Political Science and Law at Sciences Po Paris she was the anglophone culture section editor of her schools newspaper, The Sundial Press, and the head of editing and visuals of HeforShe Sciences Po. As a passionate intersectional feminist, she is especially interested in the relationship between gender and health as well as how gender bias and discrimination is embedded in political and legal systems. When she is not talking about gender and looking at what steps forward and backward are being made around the world, she is probably arguing about why sweet breakfast foods are superior to savory breakfast foods. You can follow her on Twitter!